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Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering

Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

CAO points:
Course code:
4 Years

Course leader:
Dr Witold Kwapinski
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 234935

Tel: 00 353 61 202015
Queries: www.ul.ie/admissions-askus


About You

Are you a person who:

  • Is interested in pursuing a career that can really make a practical contribution to helping people and society, e.g. The production of new drugs to fight disease, developing realistic ways for sustainable energy generation, providing efficient technologies for combating climate change?
  • Enjoys the challenges of solving applied problems and applying your analytical skills to finding innovative solutions?
  • Has a flair for science and technology and wishes to put these talents to good use?

If so, this may be the programme for you.

The B.E. (Hons.) Chemical & Biochemical Engineering provides an interesting, intellectually challenging, and educationally rigorous degree programme that leads to a professionally recognised qualification and good employment prospects in any of a variety of stable, sustainable, well-paid careers.

Why Study Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at UL?

This programme is the only course of its kind in the Mid-West and Western regions of the country. Process engineering is the central area of expertise underpinning many important, sustainable industries and businesses within both the Irish and global economies. Such enterprises include: biopharmaceuticals, fuels, chemicals, and drug manufacture, energy production, food and beverage processing, environmental waste remediation, and electronic component manufacture.

The Irish pharmaceutical, chemical and biochemical industries have been primarily responsible for the recent consistent increases in the national export performance, proving these sectors to be stable and resilient, even in harsh economic conditions.

In all of these areas, the chemical/biochemical engineer is of key importance both in the design and operation of the processing systems and in the development and manufacture of novel products.

The IChemE accreditation ensures international professional recognition for graduates of the degree.

This four year honours degree programme comprises formal lectures/study, practical laboratories, workshops, training on industry-standard process engineering software, project work, as well as a substantial Cooperative Education period working in an industrial placement.

Years 1 and 2 provide a comprehensive grounding in all of the subjects required for a career as a professional chemical/biochemical engineer. As well as rigorous training in mathematics, process engineering, computation methods, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics, closely allied subjects are also studied, including bioprocess engineering, engineering materials and process design methods.

Beginning in year 2 and continuing throughout year 3, you will gain knowledge in fluid mechanics and heat transfer, reaction engineering and mass transfer separation. The programme also offers some advanced-level modules in the areas of pharmaceutical manufacture, formulation and sustainable methods for energy and fuel production. In year 3 you will take part in Cooperative Education placement - a training period where you will work as a chemical/biochemical engineer on one or more project-related tasks within a company, enterprise or institution.

In year 4 you will undertake a design project, in which you will work as part of a team to carry out the comprehensive design of a sustainable process for the large-scale production of a chemical or biochemical-based product. This project will give you an opportunity to develop and hone your skills in other important areas of professional engineering practice.

Year 1 Semester 1   Semester 2 Summer
MA4001 Engineering Maths 1 MA4002 Engineering Maths 2  
CH4701 General Chemistry 1 MT4002 Engineering Materials  
PH4011 Physics for Engineers 1 CH4102 Organic Chemistry 1: Functional Groups  
CG4001 Process Engineering Computation PH4012 Physics for Engineers 2  
CG5011 Principles of Chemical Engineering CH4002 Physical Chemistry 1: Thermodynamics & Kinetics  


Year 2 Semester 3   Semester 4 Summer
MA4003 Engineering Maths 3 MA4004 Engineering Maths 4  
CH4405 Fluid Mechanics & Heat Transfer CH4404 Process Technology: Instrumentation, Control  
CH4103 Organic Chemistry 2 CH4004 Physical Chemistry 3: Phase Equilibria  
BC4903 Biomolecules CH4608 Plant & Process Management  
CG4003 Bioprocess Engineering 1 CG5042 Chemical Engineering Design Methods  


Year 3 Semester 5   Semester 6 Summer
MA4007 Experiment Design   Cooperative Education Cooperative Education
CH4415 Reaction Engineering & Reactor Design      
CH4407 Mass Transfer Separations      
CG5031 Process Flowsheeting, Unit Sizing, Software      
CG4005 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics      


Year 4 Semester 7   Semester 8 Summer
CG4007 Sustainable Energy Processes CG5052 Batch (Pharma) Process Engineering  
CH4417 Pharmaceutical Formulation ME4718 Fluid Process Control  
CG4017 Bioprocess Engineering 2 CG5082 Advanced Transport Processes  
CG4027 Research Project CG4008 Process Troubleshooting  
CG4097 Design Project 1 CG4098 Design Project 2  

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.

In addition, applicants must hold a minimum grade H4 in Mathematics and grade O6/H7 in one of the following: Physics, Chemistry, Physics with Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Science, Technology, Design & Communication Graphics/ Technical Drawing, Biology, Agricultural Science, Applied Maths, Construction Studies.

Applications are welcome from transferees with NFQ (National Framework of Quali cations) Level 7 awards. Suitably quali ed students may be offered exemptions from years 1 and/or 2.

A Special Mathematics Examination will be offered at UL following the Leaving Certi cate results for those students who did not achieve the Mathematics requirement.

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Of ce (CAO) by 1 February.

Graduates may enter careers as professional engineers with any company, enterprise or institution involved with the practical application, development, research, manufacture of products, or provision of services that involve chemical or biochemical reactions and processes.

Typical careers might include;

  • Pharmaceutical/drug manufacture
  • Mineral extraction
  • Petro and Agro-chemicals
  • Food/Beverage production
  • Biorefineries
  • Environmental engineering
  • Biochemicals/biologics manufacture
  • Sustainable fuels/energy production
  • Processing of fine and heavy chemicals
  • Chemical energy conversion systems

Follow-on Study

You can further develop your competence by undertaking postgraduate research studies here in UL.

Want to find out more about possible careers with this degree? Click Here

Alison Loughran - Graduate

In school, my favourite subject was maths, with chemistry and biology a close second. This course seemed to incorporate everything that I liked so I got in contact with the lecturer I had spoken with at the UL Open Day and met with him about the course. He really simplified what a chemical engineer does; "A chemist creates a recipe for something on lab scale, while a chemical engineer takes this recipe, and must make the same compound on large scale".

The course itself is quite challenging but that was something that attracted me from the beginning. We cover some general areas like engineering maths, physics and chemistry while the more specialised topics include fluid mechanics and heat transfer, phase equilibria, mass transfer separations, pharmaceutical formulation etc. The final year then has an individual research project and a group design project.

I completed my Co-Op work placement in Analog Devices, Limerick for 8 months. I worked on a team in the diffusion/strip work centre. I was also given individual tasks and projects which included carrying out checks on new tools, data collection for tools not yet automated and working with the manufacturing staff in a cleanroom environment. I realised how versatile my degree is as I gained great manufacturing experience and greatly developed communication, teamwork and troubleshooting skills.

I now work in MSD (Merck) in Cork as a technical specialist in operations in the Biologics Department. MSD plan to manufacture upstream biopharmaceutical products so I am involved in the commissioning and qualification of new equipment. My role will then transition to technical support of the manufacturing process which will involve being on the floor to assist operators through the manufacturing process, report to my leads on progress and investigate any process deviations.

UL’s 8 month Co-Op experience in UL prepared me very well for industry life. My degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering enabled me to secure a job before course completion.

Why not check out www.icheme.org and www.whynotchemeng.org and find out if chemical engineering is the career for you?

Mark Fitzpatrick

In school, I enjoyed Maths, Physics and Design, Communication Graphics subjects so I wanted a numerical-based degree that would test my problem-solving abilities while also having good job prospects.

UL’s degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering provides a good mix of core engineering modules such as thermodynamics, process technology and process safety with other modules such as plant & process management and energy sustainability that ensures students have a well-rounded degree. The course is structured to bring all students to the same level of chemistry, biology and physics knowledge, even if you didn’t take those subjects for Leaving Cert. Modern chemical process software programs are taught, illustrating how all the different aspects of chemical engineering must come together and be in unison for a production process to work in a simulated large-scale plant.

Co-Op placement was the best part of my degree. I was working in the clean utilities department of Eli Lilly Kinsale's new biological drug production process. I was able to apply the knowledge I learned in lectures to real-world production problems. I gained an in-depth knowledge of the different types of processing equipment used in industry, the benefits of each type and how to spot developing faults before they become an issue. UL’s chemical engineering degree qualifies me for a wide range of careers across Ireland and abroad.

Jenna Bromell

Chemical engineering graduates have many career pathways to choose from. Here at UL, the management and analytical skills we develop while doing this course are sought after in so many industries. With such a variety of modules, we gain knowledge and develop skills which are applicable to many sectors.

Maths, Chemistry and problem-solving really appealed to me in school and this course seemed to incorporate all these areas. The biochemical element makes the course unique to chemical engineering-related courses offered in other Irish universities.

My Co-Op in Analog Devices benefitted me in many different ways- not just in terms of enriching my knowledge of engineering, but also in terms of interacting and networking with others. I have been involved in many projects within the company and this has helped me to develop communication, leadership and management skills. The experience has also helped my ability to plan, organize, evaluate options and implement solutions.

Co-Op experience is unique to UL and has given me a great insight into what working in industry will be like. By surrounding myself with other experienced engineers, I learned more about what is required of oneself as an employee, the importance of discipline and good work ethics, and what it takes to be the best engineer you can be.

Edmond Kennedy - Graduate

As a Chemical Engineer, I basically take what is created on a lab scale and upscale it to a larger, industrial level. In my role in Eli Lilly in Kinsale, I am responsible for the day to day running of a manufacturing rig. I work as part of a cross-functional team to deliver medicine. My degree in UL has prepared me very well for this role, as it has provided me with a broad knowledge to allow me to interact with colleagues from areas like chemistry, maintenance and automation.

1st year of this course mainly covers general science and maths to give a basis for students to understand the more advanced topics. 2nd - 4th year covers more of the core engineering areas such as heat transfer, fluid mechanics and process control, as well as specific Chemical Engineering topics, such as reaction engineering and chemical engineering thermodynamics. In 4th year students complete a design project. Here they work together as a team to design a virtual industrial plant to manufacture a given chemical.

Co-op work experience is unique to UL. For my placement, I worked in Ipsen Pharmaceuticals in Dublin as a Chemical Engineer. I worked mainly on a freeze-drying process for purifying a protein, along with managing any day to day activities on the production floor. Along with the opportunity to apply the technical knowledge I gained in college, I also gained valuable experience of working as part of a team, such as communication and teamwork. UL has provided me with all I need to achieve my potential.

Jake Flannery

I chose UL because of the fantastic campus, and this course really appealed to me. Chemistry and Applied Maths were my favourite subjects for the Leaving Cert, so when researching my options, I felt my strengths were suited to a degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. The course is somewhat challenging but very interesting. The engineering maths particularly appeals to me and I enjoy studying organic chemistry too because we get to do a lot of interactive lab projects and work with various chemicals. We also had the opportunity to visit a large chemical engineering facility and see first-hand how their various processes operate.

As an incoming first-year UL student, Jake received the UL40 Entrance Scholarship for achieving 625 points in the Leaving Certificate. He was also awarded the Naughton Foundation (Tipperary) scholarship for STEM studies at university. As out-half/full-back for the Irish U20s rugby team, Jake earned a Six Nations medal in 2019 when he helped his team to the Grand Slam title. Having played in this year’s U20 World Cup in Argentina, Jack has recently been recruited to the Munster Rugby Academy.